Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Copa Podio, Banning Lapel Guard, and Judo's Slippery Slope

ADCC gives negative points for butt scooting.

The IBJJF eventually instituted a 20 second timer on the double guard pull.

The Abu Dhabi World Pro DQ'd both Miyao and Keenan for refusing to come on top and try to pass guard.

Copa Podio now penalizes the lapel guard.

Now.....the great debate?

What comes next?

Should the IBJJF ban guard pulling outright?
Do I want to watch two elite black belts battle for a takedown for 7-8 minutes?

What happens when they realize why some grips are banned in Judo? Will they ban those grips on the feet but not on the ground? Will players start playing on the feet to avoid penalties and simply counter-takedown ala the ADCC where I watch Cobrinha and Rafa slippery wrestle for 15 minutes instead of what I came to see which was submission grappling?

Should the IBJJF pan other largely defensive grips which make passing inordinately difficult?
If you ban feeding the lapel around your own leg, should you also ban passing it behind your opponents neck because I can use it to break down my opponent's posture and prevent him breaking open my guard and thus passing?

Why not ban the Berimbolo because of what it did to standing guard passing in Jiu-Jitsu?

I may overreact or scream bloody murder because I started off grappling in Judo.

I was out of competition due to an ACL reconstruction right around the time they first made the leg grab an automatic disqualification (intentional or not).

By the time I speak of this, now there is more mat work in Judo but you cannot lock your hands around the waist, grip fighting is largely limited and penalized and the times required to win by pin are even shorter, producing a hyper aggressive, casual TV Olympic-viewer friendly version of what used to be Judo.

There always looms the desire for our sport and legitimacy, money, visibility, notoriety, and validation that the Olympics brings, but the IOC (International Olympic Committee) that very nearly succeeded in removing one of the original Olympic sports, wrestling, controls the rule set and the direction all other sport then takes underneath that heading. My point is simply that even Rickson now seeks with his new federation to produce a new type of competition for Jiu-Jitsu that makes it less about sport and more about the original essence of Jiu-Jitsu, but that essence is always in the eye of the beholder.

There will always be a need to stop and consider the effect(s) the rule(s) have on the sport and the style of play/competition. Wrestling comes to mind. Have anyone explain to you all the rules for leg ride points, pins, technical-whatever-the-*&^% and it's a turn off to becoming engaged with the sport.

Ultimately, I shudder to think what happens when we start banning techniques we don't like, but this will ALWAYS be subjective to the powers that be, and there will always be the slipper slope of getting ride of things that certain people or groups do not like. The purpose of the rules is not to enforce a particular style of play based on allegiance to mentality, a personality cult, or a dreaming of the way it was in yesteryear when the sport was also not nearly as professional an endeavor.

The purpose of rules is not to simply ban what we don't like or disagree with due to our own bias, be it personal or inculcated.

You want a submission oriented Jiu-Jitsu? Do Submission Only Events like US Grappling puts on.
You want grappling tournaments with rounds and restarts? Do the Hayastan grappling Challenge.
You want the IBJJF rule set, they do their calendar all year round.
You like the old rules of Judo, support a Freestyle Judo Rules tournament or better yet run one in house.
What you want is out there and you as the competitor and also the consumer get to decide to whom you give your support and patronage. There's room for everything and this is why I like Rickson's statement that he's not trying to compete with anyone. There is a bit of that sense that he still thinks his rule set and particular emphasis is superior, but he's Rickson, so WTF do I know?
There will always exist a natural urge to think that what you're doing is the one true way and anything else is suspect or even perhaps deleterious to the art to which you personally ascribe, but in that myopia you can stifle your own appreciation for related skills or even a deeper understanding of a particular facet of your own style of grappling.


  1. "The purpose of rules is not to simply ban what we don't like or disagree with due to our own bias, be it personal or inculcated. "

    I totally agree.

    So first there is there is Ricksons argument about jiu jitsu not being affective anymore. He claims that jiu jitsu is for the street or whatever and sport jiu jitsu is increasingly reducing the overall affectiveness of street/mma grappling by emphasizing sport centric techniques. I understand his perspective. He grew up in the vale tudo days. He grew up in the gracie challenge days where they were out to prove jiu jitsu against other arts. But, sport jiu jitsu simply is not the gracie challenge. It doesnt try other arts. And, sport jiu jitsu doesnt take place in the street or octogon. It is definitely true that many people train jiu jitsu for mma and self defence. But, that isnt the end of the story. The moment that jiu jitsu competition formed where people did not have to worry about strikes, sport jiu jitsu was formed. And that created a new dynamic for people to potentially enjoy. I am one of those people. Personally I dont give a shit about the street. I love jiu jitsu for the same reason I love chess: nearly infinite combinations and tactics. It is nothing but a game to me, a sport. And, like any sport, especially chess, if someone uses tech to beat you, you can find tech that can neutralize and overcome it. The idea of training to really fight random idiots is nowhere near my radar. I like the sport, plain and simple. I am excited for every new technique that is proven in competition. When Keenan dominated Lo with worm guard and even managed to put up a solid fight against Buchecha with it, I was so pumped. Ingenuity counts. There is so much to love about jiu jitsu besides actually using it to choke people. And, all do respect to Rickson, because he says its one way in no way delegitimizes others who train and compete for other reasons.
    Second, there is the appeal to aesthetics. This one is the most problematic. It is often
    expressed as some sort of lazy homophobic nonsense. "Oh look, two guys scissoring and staring into each others eyes. What is jiu jitsu becoming?" to paraphrase Lloyd Irvin. We've all heard the stardard BS. "What if someone new comes and sees a jiu jitsu tournament? Is this what you want them to see?" "Its not exciting enough! No one wants to watch double-guard pull!" Im not even going to dignify the homophobia in jiu jitsu with an argument against it here. If you get a little sensitive when it comes to male on male contact, youre in the wrong fucking sport bro. But, lets get this strait. So, two people, not one of them is you, are competing, and YOU have a problem with how much fun it is to watch them? They didn't pay their money to compete to entertain you. They paid their money to compete to try and prove their tech and strategy are the best. They paid their money to prove they are the best, not win a funnest dudes competition. But, you're going to appeal to the jiu jitsu authorities to make them stop? Thats some snitchin-ass christian bullshit. I dont give a shit about what my opponent looks like when rolling. I care about what tech theyre going to use and what tech Im going to need to use to beat them. You dont owe it to anyone to look a certain way. Thats entirely nonsense. And, the idea of outlawing tech BECAUSE IT WORKS is extremely disgusting and disheartening. In fact, from now on im only going to refer to jiu jitsu as Ultimate Grappling because soon enough every technique thought up after 1995 will be banned. Jiu Jitsu is dead.

  2. Rickson said on the Joe Rogan podcast with Eddie Bravo that he wants input from others on the rules and that his aren't set in stone.

  3. Billy - that's a lot to digest. I'm all for different rule sets in different places just because as a competitor, it lets me choose how and when I'd like to compete. Like with anything, there's the end of the spectrum, extreme as it is, where two guys sit on their butts and refuse to really engage. The other end of the spectrum would be having great self-defense, but getting hosed by a "sport" Jiu-Jitsu guy because you don't do enough live rolling. If you're talking about Jiu-Jitsu as it was originally made, it's emphasis is on being able to defend yourself AND the use of live rolling as an effective method of training. Wherein a particular school or group draws that dividing line is always in a state of flux. I'm glad there's another venue/avenue for competition, with a slightly different rule set.